Movies That Rule: DREDD – By Cameron Heffernan

Cameron takes a second to inform you on the amazing awesomeness that is the kick-ass action packed bullet-fest known as DREDD.


In 1977, Judge Dredd made his first appearance in the magazine/comic strip 2000 A.D. he was a brooding representation of the violence and corruption of law enforcement; Dredd over time became a social commentary of sorts on the ideals of oppression and especially the malevolence of the Americas police force (Oh yeah, it’s an English comic strip, so it’s satire mainly goes against brash Americans). In 1995, Sylvester Stallone was deemed worthy enough to play this character and in very ’90s fashion a very over the top and absolutely ridiculous version of the classic comic was made.

Now, nearly 17 years after the first debacle that was Judge Dredd with Sly Stallone, we have DREDD. Starring Karl Urban as titular character, DREDD, is the story of a justified officer of the law fighting a literal uphill (or upstairs) battle trying to put a stop to a new synthetic drug in Mega City known as SLO-MO and the tyrannical drug dealer aficionado MaMa (Lena Headey) and her tower of terror.

Now, DREDD isn’t about it’s story line. I essentially gave it away in that previous paragraph. What you may be asking yourself though is, “tower of terror?” What is this, Disneyland: California Adventures ?

To this I say no, this is Mega City. And in Mega City everything is a 200 storeys tall building. One of these buildings – the one that DREDD and his clairvoyant rookie partener are called to – is ran by the ruthless drug dealer, the aforementioned MaMa. The two are called because of three murders in which three of MaMa’s dealers who have done her wrong are skinned alive and thrown from the top floor. It’s all very brutal, and it more than definitely is a resounding starting gun to the action-packed bad-assedry that ensues over the next hour and fifteen minutes.

This movie literally has 15 to 20 minutes of actually exposition and character building. The rest is just death and destruction in the most beautiful manner that something so gritty and enclosed can portray. The set-piece of Peach Tree Tower is a concrete tower of Babel that provides a safe haven for the MaMa character and her drug-dealing cronies. As the Judges ascend the tower the film plays out like a reverse Dante’s Inferno, as the Judge’s go floor by floor in order to stop MaMa.

DREDD does have a story line and it also includes a rather foreseeable and enjoyable twist towards the end. What makes this movie a Movie That Rules is it’s unabashed violence which is portrayed in one of the more brutal and artistic manners seen in a movie in a while. From a slo-motion impact on concrete from about 200 storeys up, to an amazing shot of incendiary bullets being sprayed over a bunch of unsuspecting dealers this movie somehow takes brutal unadulterated violence and makes it pretty, but in the same breadth seems so realistic it incites emotion in you to a point where you have no other option but to root for the good guy.

Something, that more recently, we as a society have found it hard to do in a film, especially a comic book film, which is root for the good guy. In Batman we’ve found ourselves rooting for Joker and Bane with the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises. With the Avengers, Tom Hiddleston, who played Loki has become an international sex symbol and now Loki, a once joke of a villian by any measure has become a formidable opponent for the almighty Avengers. With DREDD you have good guys and bad guys. The bad guys cut peoples skin off and throw them from 200 storeys. The good guys come and stop this

It’s just nice to root for the good guy again and say goodnight to the bad guy and let them know that “I am the Law.”

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